While raising a family, Big Al spent the late ‘60s and early ‘70s as a meat salesman for Farmer’s Meat Market in downtown Dallas. This was when Al first sold briskets, hams and other meats to a considerable array of now-popular barbecue restaurants.
“Travis Dickey, Red Bryan, Bob White – you name it. I sold to all of them,” said Al in 2016, recalling an era when brisket and prime cuts were more dominant in the North than the South.
Al purchased his first restaurant in 1973, naming it Big Al’s Smokehouse Barbecue, and continued outsourcing meats to fund his brainchild. As a businessman, Al went through great lengths to ensure customer access to all prime cut meats. He even introduced Beef Ribs to the Dallas barbecue scene as a daily menu special and gained popularity for it.
“They were relatively cheap to buy because most processors considered them [by-products] of Prime Ribs,” said Al.
His smokehouse grew into a citywide franchise during the ‘80s, complete with catering services and a lasting influence on the DFW culinary world. As of today, most Dallas barbecue restaurants serve the Beef Rib at least one day each week.
Big Al’s traditionally has a strong focus on catering large events, and with gatherings being limited currently, a shift is necessary. “We’ve had several large catering orders cancel because events are being shut down all over the city. We need to make up that income somehow, so we’ve been in deep brainstorming sessions with our team to figure what people want this week – and what they’ll want next week with the environment changing so rapidly,” Lauran Weiner, now owner of Big Al’s Smokehouse BBQ, says.
“In addition to the intensified focus on cleaning and sanitation, we are focused on delivery, curbside delivery and take out ordering, stocking up on appropriate containers and packaging to ensure the quality of food and the safety of our customers.”
If you’re going to go for wine with your BBQ, red wines will be your go-to, since the bold flavors will pair perfectly with the grilled meat. Shiraz / Syrah makes a great middle of the road option, but more delicate flavors may be better suited to a more subtle Sangiovese wine. Whether you’re grabbing a wine, beer, or something non-alcoholic just make sure you don’t overpower the food – great meat speaks for itself.
Big Al’s has remained a Dallas institution and has something to make your family smile. .